animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / out and about

the care and feeding of guinea keets

hello

That's what all my google searches have been about this weekend. You see, three weeks ago, my oldest daughter and her great-grandmother started to conspire together about getting some baby chicks for our new place. The feed mill had a few orphans, sitting in a plastic tub behind the counter waiting for a home. Each week, their price would go down–$3.00, $2.75, $2.25…..

So three weeks ago, my grandmother drove to the feed store to rescue those little chicks and bring them home to my hardly-able-to-contain-themselves-with-excitement little girls. She arrived home empty-handed. The chicks had been bought by some other well-meaning person that very morning.

the whole clan

So instead, she ordered us five Rhode Island Red ladies to arrive the following week.

Let me tell you two things: First of all, my girls were disappointed that they had to wait. But I was kind of glad to see them wait and prepare for the chicks arrival. A little anticipation and patience builds character, right?

But second of all, if you tell them next week, please let it be next week!! For the past two weeks they've been devising plans to get me to the feed mill to check whether the chicks have arrived. We're running out of kitten feed at an unholy rate. We "desperately" need a rain gauge so Daddy knows how much rain we're getting while he's at work. And apparently I need a new pair of gardening gloves because this pair is so (heaven forbid) dirty!

So we've been checking in many times each week. But the little old lady behind the counter has no specifics, no answers. "We don't know when they'll arrive. We don't get any notice, they just show up."

fascinated

It's little consolation to my now impatient girls. A week is one thing, but dragging this on for three is too much.

Growing up, I remember having guineas on our farm. The round grey birds were always around, making a lot of noise when a car arrived, roosting in the pine trees at night and probably more often than my young self realized, getting carried off by the local fox.

So when I was perusing the "Farm and Garden" section of CraigsList, my new online obsession, and I happened upon "Gary in PA" who was selling guinea chicks, I quickly made a call.

Dan and I had been talking about getting guineas–good for your garden, good for keeping down your tick population, and just plain neat to have wandering around the place. But when most hatcheries require you to order a minimum of 30(!), I knew we wouldn't be getting any.

the jumper

But good old Gary made it all come together. On Saturday, we drove out to his little place in Pennsylvania, home to a menagerie of chickens, guineas, ducks and rabbits. And drove home with six sweet little guinea keets to call our own.

I've fretted over temperatures, who's drinking, who's eating, who's making so much noise, for the first few nights, but now things seem to be settling down.

To hold them, is to hold a ball of fluff that is all neck. I imagine them to be like a baby brontosaurus. And they use those necks to squeeze and scramble out of your hold. However, if you'll give them a place to nuzzle down, tuck their head, a nice dark spot, they'll quiet down and most likely fall asleep.

tucked in

hiding

So, we've adopted six guineas. And now that they're here I bet you the feed mill will be calling with our Rhode Island Reds tomorrow. Doesn't it always work that way?

And if you come over, and use our downstairs bathroom, be sure to duck your head under the two by four, that's holding the heat lamp over the large tub, that's holding six noisy keets. Try not to get too sweaty in the 90 degree room, or slip on a pile of woodshavings, or knock over the custom-designed tub of chick feed….

You won't mind, will you?

hello

That's what all my google searches have been about this weekend. You see, three weeks ago, my oldest daughter and her great-grandmother started to conspire together about getting some baby chicks for our new place. The feed mill had a few orphans, sitting in a plastic tub behind the counter waiting for a home. Each week, their price would go down–$3.00, $2.75, $2.25…..

So three weeks ago, my grandmother drove to the feed store to rescue those little chicks and bring them home to my hardly-able-to-contain-themselves-with-excitement little girls. She arrived home empty-handed. The chicks had been bought by some other well-meaning person that very morning.

the whole clan

So instead, she ordered us five Rhode Island Red ladies to arrive the following week.

Let me tell you two things: First of all, my girls were disappointed that they had to wait. But I was kind of glad to see them wait and prepare for the chicks arrival. A little anticipation and patience builds character, right?

But second of all, if you tell them next week, please let it be next week!! For the past two weeks they've been devising plans to get me to the feed mill to check whether the chicks have arrived. We're running out of kitten feed at an unholy rate. We "desperately" need a rain gauge so Daddy knows how much rain we're getting while he's at work. And apparently I need a new pair of gardening gloves because this pair is so (heaven forbid) dirty!

So we've been checking in many times each week. But the little old lady behind the counter has no specifics, no answers. "We don't know when they'll arrive. We don't get any notice, they just show up."

fascinated

It's little consolation to my now impatient girls. A week is one thing, but dragging this on for three is too much.

Growing up, I remember having guineas on our farm. The round grey birds were always around, making a lot of noise when a car arrived, roosting in the pine trees at night and probably more often than my young self realized, getting carried off by the local fox.

So when I was perusing the "Farm and Garden" section of CraigsList, my new online obsession, and I happened upon "Gary in PA" who was selling guinea chicks, I quickly made a call.

Dan and I had been talking about getting guineas–good for your garden, good for keeping down your tick population, and just plain neat to have wandering around the place. But when most hatcheries require you to order a minimum of 30(!), I knew we wouldn't be getting any.

the jumper

But good old Gary made it all come together. On Saturday, we drove out to his little place in Pennsylvania, home to a menagerie of chickens, guineas, ducks and rabbits. And drove home with six sweet little guinea keets to call our own.

I've fretted over temperatures, who's drinking, who's eating, who's making so much noise, for the first few nights, but now things seem to be settling down.

To hold them, is to hold a ball of fluff that is all neck. I imagine them to be like a baby brontosaurus. And they use those necks to squeeze and scramble out of your hold. However, if you'll give them a place to nuzzle down, tuck their head, a nice dark spot, they'll quiet down and most likely fall asleep.

tucked in

hiding

So, we've adopted six guineas. And now that they're here I bet you the feed mill will be calling with our Rhode Island Reds tomorrow. Doesn't it always work that way?

And if you come over, and use our downstairs bathroom, be sure to duck your head under the two by four, that's holding the heat lamp over the large tub, that's holding six noisy keets. Try not to get too sweaty in the 90 degree room, or slip on a pile of woodshavings, or knock over the custom-designed tub of chick feed….

You won't mind, will you?

10 comments on “the care and feeding of guinea keets”

  1. Awww, baby guineas! I knew they were guineas straight away and wondered when your story was going to get to the guinea part since it starts out chickens, chickens, chickens! I love guineas!

  2. How sweet! And I love that you put them in the bathroom. My mentor at church has baby chicks in her garage in the spring. We love to go see them.

  3. So you get the cats in the shed and the chickens arrive? Tristan will flip when he gets to see them. The town where my in-laws live has wild chickens and they roost in the trees.

    For your next farm animal, I’m voting sheep 🙂

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